From Publishers Weekly
Edgar-finalist Abbott (Die a Little) delivers a sharp, slender, hardboiled tale of a protégé's schooling by a notorious, been-there-done-that moll. The first time the unnamed 22-year-old female narrator lays eyes on Gloria Denton, her first thought is I want the legs. The setting is the Club Tee Hee, an indeterminate Las Vegas–L.A. nowhere where the kid is doing the mobbed-up books, and Gloria comes in every few weeks to count Jerome's vig. The kid absorbs very entertaining lessons in how to dress, move, behave, and how to pick up, transport and distribute payoffs and winnings—until she falls for sweet-talking gambler Vic Riordan. Abbott is pitch-perfect throughout: Gloria Denton, still turning heads in her 40s, is as hard a moll as any, and the kid is a beautiful combination of foil and tool as she strives to emulate her role model. The collision, violent and inevitable, rips away the facade of glitz and glamour, and leaves their low-end edifice starkly exposed.
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Working from her story in the anthology Damn Near Dead
(2006), noir's reigning crown princess delivers a royally entertaining rumination on toxic female friendships set in the harsh neon underbelly of early-1960s Las Vegas. The tale of an avaricious assistant to a Virginia Hill-style Mob courier unfolds so cinematically it's difficult not to picture it onscreen--perhaps pitched as The
Grifters meets Casino
, with Sharon Stone and Scarlett Johansson under the leering direction of Quentin Tarantino. "Gloria's girl," they call her when she's corralling payoffs from casino managers, fixing odds at the track, and doling out pad money to the cops. But she's out for a glorious score, and the taste of a gem heist she sets up only makes her ravenous for more. It's too bad that head for nasty business is paired with a body built for even nastier sin--and a heart foolish enough to go out to Vic Riordan, a self-destructive gambler nearing his final spin of the wheel. It'd be nice to get a better glimpse of her motivations, but this is a sleek, slick, seductive treat. Frank SennettCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved